Does it feel to you as if we’re seeing a light at the end of an interminably long and dark tunnel? Are you feeling something indefinable that is loosening the siege mentality so many of us have operated under this past year?
In my part of the world it’s still a little early to be planting seeds, but as we all stagger into this new year I feel like I’m seeing all kinds of startling growth in the people around me, unexpected shiftings of systems and stretchings of relationships, and I can’t help but wonder how many of these changes are a direct result of individuals and communities revivifying, if you will, after having been under extreme stress for so long.
I wonder how many of us are operating with less emotional fat as we come out of this past year, like bears waking from hibernation. According to Wikipedia:
Hibernation functions to conserve energy when sufficient food is unavailable. Before entering hibernation, animals need to store enough energy to last through the duration of their dormant period, possibly as long as an entire winter. Larger species become hyperphagic, eating a large amount of food and storing the energy in fat deposits.
Successful months-long hibernation results in a skinny, fairly cranky honey badger of a bear who pretty much has had enough of everyone’s s**t, and in my communities I’m seeing folx who are entering 2021 with the same mindset. That’s not a bad thing at all, in fact, on the whole it kind of makes sense. Still, it’s interesting to watch how folx are re-manifesting their intentions post-2020.
I also wonder how we will all live and move and have our being with each other now that most of us are enduring, at least to some extent, the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Mayo Clinic lists some of the symptoms of PTSD, and you may have been noticing them in your communities or in yourself. They write:
PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions.
I know I’ve experienced negative changes in thinking, including thoughts about other people and the world. Feeling emotionally numb is also something I think many of us may be experiencing after the onslaught of 2020. How many of us are having trouble sleeping? Concentrating? How many of us are experiencing increased irritability? Aggressiveness?
What happens to our relationships when so many of us are now among the walking wounded, the survivors of the siege? How can we possibly be expected to have the emotional reserves—the emotional fat—to handle other people’s s**t when we hardly have enough to handle our own?
I don’t have an answer to any of these questions. I do think a whole lot of us are coming into 2021 freshly aware of just how short life is, of how precarious it can be. Perhaps some of us only became aware of the restrictions we may have put on ourselves only after restrictions were placed upon us by others, and now that those restrictions are easing we’re bustin’ out—large and in charge, kicking butt and taking names. Empowered. Fierce. Rawr.
Maybe in all of this fierce new growth seeds of kindness and compassion will be choked out of our communities’ gardens. I hope not. More than that, I think not, but until we all regain our emotional fat I would not be surprised to see more edges and corners rubbing up against each other for a while, like misaligned gears that don’t quite mesh. Until, one day, they do.
I end with one of my favorite songs of hope by Emma’s Revolution, Swimming to the Other Side. We’ll all get there, friends, because we’re all swimming in the stream together.
You can hear more of The Corner Crone during her Moments For Meditation on KPPR Pure Pagan Radio on TuneIn.